An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. … – Titus 1:6-9 (NIV)

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Surprisingly, in the matter of selecting church officials, Paul looks to the conduct of a candidate’s family life before he gets to theological soundness. Here, an elder – or bishop, in other translations – is a married man who has demonstrated an ability to supervise the spiritual growth of his entire household.

Based on the appearance of Phoebe and other women leaders in the early church, we can also cast the sentence as “the wife of but one husband, a woman whose …”

As the examination expands, Paul adds open hospitality, calmness, blamelessness, and good stewardship to the list.

*   *   *

Nor is it altogether useless for those that are established in the Truth, to hear the Things thereof declared, notwithstanding they knew the same before; yet may it be to the stirring up of their pure Minds by way of Remembrance, of the Dealings of the Lord with themselves in Days that are past, and for the comforting and refreshing of their Spirits, to feel how the Work of the Lord prospers in others of his People, and for the chearing and making glad their Hearts, to hear how Truth prevails, and gets Ground in the Earth. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

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